Kensington Palace today
Today Kensington Palace contains the offices and London residences of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It also contains the offices and residences of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
Historic parts of Kensington Palace are open to the public. Kensington Palace is also home to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, with items of Royal, ceremonial and court dress dating from the 18th century to the present day.
History of Kensington Palace
In 1689 William III bought the Jacobean mansion Kensington Palace, originally known as Nottingham House from his Secretary of State, the Earl of Nottingham, and commissioned Christopher Wren to extend and improve the house. Until the death of George II in 1760, Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns.
Queen Victoria was born and brought up in the Palace and news of her accession in 1837 was brought to her there by the Lord Chamberlain and the Archbishop of Canterbury; however Victoria chose to reign from Buckingham Palace. It had been expected that Victoria would reign from either Kensington or St James's Palace but almost immediately she moved to Buckingham Palace and never again stayed at Kensington Palace.
Queen Mary (grandmother of the present Queen) was born at Kensington Palace in 1867. The Duke of Edinburgh stayed there in his grandmother's apartment in 1947 between his engagement and his marriage.
Queen Victoria spent her childhood at Kensington Palace, having been born there in 1819. It was at Kensington Palace that Victoria learnt in 1837 that her uncle had died and she was now Queen.